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Archive of posts filed under the Political Science category.

My talk at the Brookings Institution this Fri 11am

The replication crisis in science: Does it matter for policy? Andrew Gelman, Department of Statistics and Department of Political Science, Columbia University I argue that policy analysts should care about the replication crisis for three reasons: (1) High-profile policy claims have been systematically exaggerated; (2) This has implications for how to conduct and interpret new […]

Junk science and fake news: Similarities and differences

Jingyi Kenneth Tay writes: As I read your recent post, “How Sloppy Science Creates Worthless Cures, Crushes Hope, and Wastes Billions” . . . and still stays around even after it’s been retracted, I realized that there are many similarities between this and fake news: how it is much easier to put fake news out […]

Bank Shot

Tom Clark writes: I came across this paper and thought of you. You might be aware of some papers that have been published about the effect of military surplus equipment aid that is given to police departments. Some economists have claimed to find that it reduces crime. My coauthors and I thought the papers were […]

The methods playroom: Mondays 11-12:30

Each Monday 11-12:30 in the Lindsay Rogers room (707 International Affairs Bldg, Columbia University): The Methods Playroom is a place for us to work and discuss research problems in social science methods and statistics. Students and others can feel free to come to the playroom and work on their own projects, with the understanding that […]

How much of the change from 2016 was due to different people voting vs. the same people changing their vote choice?

A colleague writes: Whenever I think of appropriate democratic strategies for 2020 I am drawn to ask how a candidate can get voters from Trump. But a colleague frequently corrects my thinking by saying Karl Rove discovered that you want to rile up your base to get them to turn out and appealing to the […]

Forming a hyper-precise numerical summary during a research crisis can improve an article’s chance of achieving its publication goals.

Speaking of measurement and numeracy . . . Kevin Lewis pointed me to this published article with the following abstract that starts out just fine but kinda spirals out of control: Forming a military coalition during an international crisis can improve a state’s chances of achieving its political goals. We argue that the involvement of […]

More on why Cass Sunstein should be thanking, not smearing, people who ask for replications

Recently we discussed law professor and policy intellectual Cass Sunstein’s statement that people who ask for social science findings to be replicated are like the former East German secret police. In that discussion I alluded to a few issues: 1. The replication movement is fueled in large part by high-profile work, lauded by Sunstein and […]

Multilevel structured (regression) and post-stratification

My enemies are all too familiar. They’re the ones who used to call me friend – Jawbreaker Well I am back from Australia where I gave a whole pile of talks and drank more coffee than is probably a good idea. So I’m pretty jetlagged and I’m supposed to be writing my tenure packet, so […]

Amending Conquest’s Law to account for selection bias

Robert Conquest was a historian who published critical studies of the Soviet Union and whose famous “First Law” is, “Everybody is reactionary on subjects he knows about.” I did some searching on the internet, and the most authoritative source seems to be this quote from Conquest’s friend Kingsley Amis: Further search led to this elaboration […]

Conditional probability and police shootings

A political scientist writes: You might have already seen this, but in case not: PNAS published a paper [Officer characteristics and racial disparities in fatal officer-involved shootings, by David Johnson, Trevor Tress, Nicole Burkel, Carley Taylor, and Joseph Cesario] recently finding no evidence of racial bias in police shootings: Jonathan Mummolo and Dean Knox noted […]

Swimming upstream? Monitoring escaped statistical inferences in wild populations.

Anders Lamberg writes: In my mails to you [a few years ago], I told you about the Norwegian practice of monitoring proportion of escaped farmed salmon in wild populations. This practice results in a yearly updated list of the situation in each Norwegian salmon river (we have a total of 450 salmon rivers, but not […]

The Economist does Mister P

Elliott Morris points us to this magazine article, “If everyone had voted, Hillary Clinton would probably be president,” which reports: Close observers of America know that the rules of its democracy often favour Republicans. But the party’s biggest advantage may be one that is rarely discussed: turnout is just 60%, low for a rich country. […]

Discussion with Nassim Taleb about sexism and racism in the Declaration of Independence

Nassim Taleb points to this post from congressmember Ayanna Pressley linking to an opinion piece by Matthew Rozsa. Rozsa’s article has the title, “Fourth of July’s ugly truth exposed: The Declaration of Independence is sexist, racist, prejudiced,” with subttile, “How we can embrace the underlying spirit of the Declaration of Independence — and also learn […]

Gendered languages and women’s workforce participation rates

Rajesh Venkatachalapathy writes: I recently came across a world bank document claiming that gendered languages reduce women’s labor force participation rates. It is summarized in the following press release: Gendered Languages May Play a Role in Limiting Women’s Opportunities, New Research Finds. This sounds a lot like the piranha problem, if there is any effect […]

Pre-results review: Some results

Aleks Bogdanoski writes: I’m writing from the Berkeley Initiative for Transparency in the Social Sciences (BITSS) at UC Berkeley with news about pre-results review, a novel form of peer review where journals review (and accept) research papers based on their methods and theory — before any results are known. Pre-results review is motivated by growing […]

Voter turnout and vote choice of evangelical Christians

Mark Palko writes, “Have you seen this?”, referring to this link to this graph: I responded: Just one of those things, I think. Palko replied: Just to be clear, I am more than willing to believe the central point about the share of the population dropping while the share of the electorate holds relatively steady, […]

Gigerenzer: “The Bias Bias in Behavioral Economics,” including discussion of political implications

Gerd Gigerenzer writes: Behavioral economics began with the intention of eliminating the psychological blind spot in rational choice theory and ended up portraying psychology as the study of irrationality. In its portrayal, people have systematic cognitive biases that are not only as persistent as visual illusions but also costly in real life—meaning that governmental paternalism […]

“Did Austerity Cause Brexit?”

Carsten Allefeld writes: Do you have an opinion on the soundness of this study by Thiemo Fetzer, Did Austerity Cause Brexit?. The author claims to show that support for Brexit in the referendum is correlated with the individual-level impact of austerity measures, and therefore possibly caused by them. Here’s the abstract of Fetzer’s paper: Did […]

This is a great example for a statistics class, or a class on survey sampling, or a political science class

Under the heading, “Latino approval of Donald Trump,” Tyler Cowen writes: From a recent NPR/PBS poll: African-American approval: 11% White approval: 40% Latino approval: 50% He gets 136 comments, many of which reveal a stunning ignorance of polling. For example, several commenters seem to think that a poll sponsored by National Public Radio is a […]

Another Regression Discontinuity Disaster and what can we learn from it

As the above image from Diana Senechal illustrates, a lot can happen near a discontinuity boundary. Here’s a more disturbing picture, which comes from a recent research article, “The Bright Side of Unionization: The Case of Stock Price Crash Risk,” by Jeong-Bon Kim, Eliza Xia Zhang, and Kai Zhong: which I learned about from the […]